Participation and young people's rights were a focus of the Internet Governance Forum 2019
A week of international professional exchange at the highest level on issues of Internet governance ended on Friday evening with the Closing Ceremony. The topics of child protection and children's rights were discussed more comprehensively than in any of the previous editions of the IGF.
High Level Panels and a General Comment
The first part of the meeting was opened by the discussions of the High Level Internet Governance Exchange organised by the German Federal Government on the morning of 25 November. After a speech by Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Engery, Peter Altmaier, the three thematic tracks of the IGF 2019 „Data Governance“, „Digital Inclusion“ and „Security, Safety, Stability & Resilience“ were discussed in nine panels with high level participants from governments and the private sector as well as civil society and the technical community in order to develop initial impulses for the programme of the following four days. In the panel "Safety and the Right to Protection", the claim of a safe area of experience for children and young people was raised as a demand based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. The importance of the Convention on the Rights of the Child for a good upbringing with media was discussed more in-depth in the afternoon in the workshop „Children’s Rights - a Case for Internet Governance“ (Pre-Event 18) organised by the British 5Rights Foundation. Around one hundred participants were informed about the status of work on a General Comment on the UN-CRC with a focus on children's rights in the digital environment. The need to re-comprehend children's rights in the light of the digital transformation of society and to exploit the potential of digitisation for the realisation of children's rights were reaffirmed by the panelists and participants.
Dynamic Coalition and the German Children's Fund
On Tuesday, the first official day of the Internet Governance Forum, the morning began with the Dynamic Coalition on Child Online Safety's (DC COS) workshop. The discussion focused on the realisation of children's right to play, leisure and cultural participation in accordance with Art. 31 UN-CRC. First, the different business models of online games and the partly aggressive marketing strategies of the providers were presented and the resulting risks of commercial exploitation and excessive use for children were discussed. In addition, potential dangers lie above all in communication and interaction, which are conducted in parallel with play activities. Age classification of games and apps is generally based on their content, which means that neither the risk of inappropriate contacts nor the risk of inappropriate purchases or loot boxes is discernible. Self-regulation as an instrument for effective protection of minors is today widely regarded as a failure, especially with regard to games. Therefore, according to the prevailing opinion, effective regulatory measures are necessary. One demand from the session was that the online games industry must become more transparent with regard to its commercialisation strategies and with regard to what children can encounter in gaming environments.
Children's right to data protection and privacy was the focus of a workshop on Wednesday morning organised by the German Children's Fund (Deutsche Kinderhilfswerk) in cooperation with Media Monitoring Africa (WS 170). The claim was made that children's rights should be taken into account in all questions of Internet governance. At the same time, children must be informed about their rights and actively demand their realisation themselves. The teaching of media literacy in schools and responsible action by the platform providers were named as essential building blocks.
Four Workshops in one day
On Thursday, the topic was continuously on the agenda with four workshops from 9.30 am to 6.10 pm. The first session was about measures against hate speech (WS 150). Here, too, regulation - such as the German Network Enforcement Act - was mentioned as an important instrument alongside media literacy for children and adults. Platform providers should further develop their measures against Hate Speech with their users, legislators should exchange information on legal framework conditions in their countries worldwide.
The results of the Global Kids Online studies were presented immediately afterwards (WS 137). Results from surveys based on the same methodology worldwide are an important prerequisite for developing measures for the protection of children and young people and for implementing these measures with globally active platform providers, according to the speakers.
Cyberbullying was the focus of a session organised by UNICEF China and the Chinese Association of the Internet Society (WS 95). This session dealt with a phenomenon resulting mainly from the increasing interaction and communication of children and adolescents on the Internet. Due to the persistence of Internet content and the increasing mobile use of the Internet, which takes place in the area of children's personal privacy, cyberbullying can have considerable consequences for personality development. However, the number of children and adolescents having such negative experiences is still low and, according to current scientific studies, is in the range of less than 10 percent. The promotion of media literacy and moderated communication spaces can make a significant contribution to reducing the risk. From a child rights perspective, balanced measures that do not restrict children's civil rights are necessary. The monitoring of children and adolescents should not be regarded as an adequate means, was the unanimous demand in the workshop.
A further workshop organised by the DKHW (WS 23) dealt with the participation of children and young people and their ability to protect themselves. Here it was suggested to consider the rights of children when designing offers and services. The cooperation of civil society actors was also considered important in order to create a lobby for children's rights. One should not wait for politics and business to take the lead on this issue, but rather for children and young people themselves to become active and demand the realisation of their rights.
Human rights in focus
In view of the threat of fragmentation of the Internet and the still considerable differences in access and use options, it is not surprising that human rights were the focus of many of the IGF's debates - not only in the sessions dealing with children and young people and their rights.
In her opening speech, Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed the importance of a free and open Internet and at the same time pointed out that the right to freedom of expression must only go as far as it does not endanger the safety of others - especially children. This thought-provoking impulse has obviously fallen on fertile ground, it can be found in many reports from the sessions of the IGF 2019.
One week to go, the Internet Governance Forum 2019 starts on Monday, Nov. 25th in BerlinJutta Croll, Stiftung Digitale Chancen
On Monday 25th the Internet Governance Forum 2019 will begin in Berlin with a High Level Internet Governance Exchange. By invitation of the German Federal Minister for Economy and Energy more than 30 Ministers from around the world will gather with representatives from the private sector, civil society and the technical community. They will discuss matters of Data Governance, Safety and Security, and Digital Inclusion in order to make a significant contribution to the debates at the IGF.
Children’s rights and child protection have gained high awareness in the Internet Governance eco-system over the years since the Dynamic Coalition on Child Online Safety started their work in Rio in 2007.
We have produced a schedule of those sessions addressing aspects of children and youth growing up in a digital environment to make it more convenient for you to take part either on-site or online via a remote hub.
Within the IGF week we will report daily from the event with a spezial focus to these sessions.
Watch this space to stay on track.
IGF-Sessions on “Growing Up in a Digital Environment”
Day 0: 25.11.2019 (Pre-Events)
- 09:00-10:30, Convention Hall I - D: Youth IGF Summit (Gesellschaft für Informatik)
- 15:00-16:00, Room IV: Ethics for the Young Digital Talents in the era of AI (Universitas Indonesia)
- 15:30-17:00, Hall Europa: Children’s Rights in the Digital World - A Case for Internet Governance (5Rights Foundation)
Day 1: 26.11.2019
- 09:30-11:00, Estrel Hall B: Dynamic Coalition on Child Online Safety (How to balance children‘s right to play and to be protected)
Day 2: 27.11.2019
- 10:45-11:45, Convention Hall I - C: Online Protection of Underage Users (Open Forum)
- 11:30-13:00, Room I: Children’s Privacy and Data Protection in Digital Contexts (Workshop)
- 11:30-13:00, Room IV: Youth in IG for Internet Ethics & Digital Inclusion (Workshop)
Day 3: 28.11.2019
- 09:30-11:00, Room V: Tackling Hate Speech: A Multi-Stakeholder Responsibility (Workshop)
- 11:30-13:00, Room V: Kids Online: What We Know and Can Do to Keep Them Safe (Workshop)
- 12:00-13:00, Convention Hall I - C: Developing policy guidelines for AI and child rights (Open Forum)
- 15:00-16:00, Convention Hall I - D: EU Delegation & Youth IGF Movement (Open Forum)
- 15:00-16:30, Hall Europa: Tackling Cyberbullying on Children with Digital Literacy (Workshop)
- 15:00-16:30, Room III: Digitally Skilling our Youth: Varied Global Approaches (Workshop)
- 16:40-18:10, Hall Europa: How and Why to Involve Perspectives of Children Effectively (Workshop)
Day 4: 29.11.2019
- 09:30-11:00, Hall Europa: Youth Coalition on Internet Governance (Youth Participation at the IGF)
IGF 2019: Report of the High-level Panel on Digital Cooperation
In July 2018 the United Nations Secretary-General, Mr. António Guterres, convened the High-Level Panel on Digital Cooperation (HLPDC) to advance proposals to strengthen cooperation in the digital space among all relevant stakeholders.
The 20-member panel, co-chaired by Ms. Melinda Gates and Mr. Jack Ma, was expected to raise awareness about the transformative impact of digital technologies across society and the economy, and contribute to the broader public debate on how to ensure a safe and inclusive digital future for all, taking into account relevant human rights norms.
The Panel submitted the final report to the Secretary-General on 10 June 2019.
It is available at https://www.un.org/en/pdfs/DigitalCooperation-report-for%20web.pdf.
The IGF 2019 Annual Meeting will feature a main session dedicated to Digital Cooperation, scheduled to be on 26 November, from 10:00-13:00 p.m. CEST. This session will reflect on the HLPDC Report recommendations, which refer to the individual topics of the report.
In preparation for this session, the IGF community is invited to provide feedback to these Recommendations. For the project "childrens-rights.digital" chapter 3.1 "Human Rights and Human Agency“ is of particular importance.
Comments can be submitted until 14 October 2019 at https://www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/content/report-of-the-un-secretary-general%E2%80%99s-%E2%80%8Ehigh-level-panel-on-digital-cooperation.
Invitation to the Internet Governance Forum 2019Stiftung Digitale Chancen
This year's annual meeting of the Internet Governance Forum (IGF) will be hosted by the Government of Germany in Berlin under the overarching theme "One World. One Net. One Vision."
From 25 to 29 November more than 2,000 representatives from politics, civil society, business and academia will come together at the fourteenth meeting of the IGF and discuss principles, norms and rules for the World Wide Web. The safety of children and young people and their right to participation will play an important role and be addressed in various workshops.
This year's meeting will focus on (1) Data Governance; (2) Digital Inclusion; (3) Security, Safety, Stability & Resilience. The draft version of the IGF 2019 Schedule can be downloaded here.
Liu Zhenmin, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, invites all Stakeholders to attend this year's meeting. The free registration is mandatory and can be done online: https://www.intgovforum.org/multilingual/content/igf-2019-registration.
Children's demands to Internet politiciansStiftung Digitale Chancen, Stiftung Digitale Chancen
Children have rights - offline and online. Could children’s right to vote contribute to the execution of their rights? What role does the Internet play in this regard? Within the framework of the re:publica, young people discussed these issues on the main stage of the Netzfest last week, along with Serina Taylor and Carla Golm from the children and youth advisory council of the German Children's Fund, the philosopher Leander Scholz, the media educator Martin Riemer, the scientist Dr. Ingrid Stapf and the childhood scientist Daniela Tews. In the end, the following demands to Internet politicians were phrased:
Children’s demands to Internet politicians
Participation on the Internet and in politics
- Listen to us and let us take part - on the Internet as well!
- Children’s interest must be taken into consideration in any decision taken in regard of the Internet.
- We want to be allowed to vote at a younger age, for example from the age of 12, since today children are well informed through the Internet and thus able to participate in decision making.
- We want children’s rights to be included in the constitution.
- There must be contact points that support us in exercising our rights and help us when our rights are infringed.
Empowerment in the Family
- When parents educate their children, they also need to be informed about the Internet.
- Parents must not infringe the rights of their children, such as the right to privacy.
- Politicians should support families and take measures to enable them to use the Internet.
Learning with and via the net
- We need digital technology in school but we also want to learn how to use it well, self-determined and safely.
- Children’s rights should be explained in school and should also be observed there.
- Every child should be able to access the internet anywhere, for example in libraries and youth centres, where we can learn more about the web and its rules.
Safety and Protection
- We want a right to have one’s data erased on the internet and someone who ensures this right is respected.
- A child’s photo should only be uploaded to the Internet with consent of the child, evidenced by a seal of approval tagged to the file.
- Providers of apps and websites must ensure that our rights are respected.
These demands were based on the voices of children and young people recorded before, during and after the session "Where are the voices of children in Internet politics" at the Netzfest 2019. They are supposed to be discussed during the re:publica and further on with political decision makers. We thank all young and adult people for their participation in the process.
The demands as PDF for download: Children’s demands to Internet politicians